Describing things

We’re now a lot more careful of the content we use and how it is designed.

More content design and strategy roles are becoming available than ever before.

Organisations and businesses now understand that designing content in a way that humans understand has a real effect.

good services are verbs

Even with all of the work we do on explaining things like the famous ‘Good services are verbs‘ poster above, once something gains a little bit of traction it can be a challenge to slow it down to see if it’s fit for purpose.

One of the most rewarding things I get to do on a weekly basis is travel around our six sites, catching up with the design teams but also speak to delivery directors and product owners. It gives me a good sense of what’s going on and how design can help impact things in a positive way at the right time. I get to communicate with a lot of people and most often than not I listen in and offer advice or guidance where it’s needed.

I pick up on language that’s being used and the way we as a collective are describing things. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been pushing for a change in the way describe a few things to help communicate more effectively and make sure we think about things in a certain way.

Describing things in the right way

The examples below are specific to government, however, may also be heard in your organisation or business. Feel free to muse on them and use them. I’ll try to stay succinct rather than ranting.

End-to-end service design should be full service design

There’s a lot of service design in government. For whatever reason the phrase ‘end-to-end’ came about when talking about it. It may have came out of people saying “don’t just look at that bit, look at all of it”, and when you say that to a person working on a specific service, ‘all of it’ is that service.

I struggle to think of examples of where services simply end as they simply blend into something else. The blend may be blurry, it may be over an amount of time but if we focus on something being ‘end-to-end’ we’re creating a solidified view on services being silo’d entities.

Full service design on the other hand enables a human brain to think there is more, even if it’s not in their direct remit to work on it. They’ll refrain from sticking a fence around something and support people in thinking about joined up services to fulfil user needs.

Public facing services should be services the public use

I’ve been guilty of using this in the past and now pinch myself when the words even come close. Let’s communicate with normal words and phrases. We work on a lot of services, and guess what, the public use a lot of these services.

Staff facing services should be services our staff use

Guilty on this one too. But you guessed it. Our staff use a lot of services to do their jobs as well.

Internal staff should be our staff

Our staff, no matter which area of the department they’re from do an amazing job. There’s a lot of them too. I’m still not sure what ‘internal staff’ are, I think they’re just ‘our staff’ so that’s an easy one.

Just a few things to describe a little better and more accurately. If you think differently, let’s chat.